Waffle House Sort Of Sorry For Refunding Waitress’s $1,000 Tip

Yesterday we told you about the Waffle House waitress in North Carolina whose $1,000 tip was automatically refunded to the customer who’d left it because of a policy at the restaurant chain. After being shamed in the media for keeping one of its employees from keeping money that would have greatly improved her life, Waffle House is now saying that maybe it should reconsider things.

“This has given us cause to review our procedures so we can get tips to our associates quicker in these unusual situation.,” reads a post on the Waffle House Facebook page about the incident. “It says a lot about this customer that he was willing to tip our associate this generous amount. Our intentions were for the associate to get her tip all along. We are sorry that our associate and the customer are having to go through this.”

As we mentioned yesterday, Waffle House has a policy that automatically refunds large credit card tips. The company figures it’s less of a hassle to annoy servers by taking away tips than it is to deal with customers who may later dispute an extravagant tip left in the throes of a 3 a.m. waffle binge. The company recommends that customers wishing to leave sizable tips do so in cash or with a check.

On Mother’s Day weekend, a Raleigh businessman attempted to leave his Waffle House waitress with a tip totaling $1,500 with the instruction that she keep $1,000 and give the remaining $500 to a customer in the neighboring booth.

The tip was sent back to the customer’s account, meaning neither the server nor the other intended recipient received anything.

When the customer found out what had happened, he sent the waitress a personal check for the $1,000.

[via newsobserver.com]

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  1. ComputerGary says:

    I don’t think Waffle House did anything wrong. Their policy seems reasonable – they’re not saying their waitresses CAN’T receive huge tips, they just don’t want customers doing it via credit card, and Waffle House’s reasoning is valid. As stated in the article, “The company recommends that customers wishing to leave sizable tips do so in cash or with a check,” and that’s exactly what the customer did. So the waitress did not lose $1,000 (though the customer in the neighboring booth, who was to receive $500, did).

    • GnRJosh says:

      While the policy may be reasonable, what isn’t reasonable is expecting patrons to know about it, and what’s more, it appears their own servers don’t know about it. Otherwise she would have told him, “Sorry, but policy dictates you can’t leave this big of a tip on your credit card.” Instead she was totally expecting to receive it, like anyone who’s ever worked in the service industry for tips would, and then found out after they were probably already making plans for the minor windfall that, sorry, company policy is to return those funds to the customer and they need to write you a check or have massive wads of cash at the ready. This would have been a non-story if it was a known policy, but when your own employees have never heard of it, that’s when things go wrong.

  2. furiousd says:

    With so many problems of people having their boss take their tips (a la Amy’s Baking Company and others, as well as places that have a tipping pool – stupid) it seems it’d be better to take out any oversight or managed tipping by paying in cash anyway (a la http://youtu.be/Q4enUE8qt_Q) so that when I want to reward a waitress for excellent service I know that they are the ones ending up with it. It’s a bad enough system anyway without having to worry about the tip ending up elsewhere, or penalizing the business for processing the transaction, then having it be taxed before it’s taxed again.